Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How a Shipping Container Saved a Life

In Matthew 6:8, when giving instruction on how to pray, Jesus tells his followers that "your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!"  It's a good thing, because I would have NEVER thought to ask for this! Read on to see what I mean.



More than two years ago, ECM organized and sent a shipping container to Uganda. Although we were able to send a lot of very important items, the cost was also quite high, and from a strictly business perspective, it didn't really make much sense. In fact, I vowed never to do it again!  But just last week, a story from one of our staff members in Uganda reminded me of how God is always up to something good.  The mother of one of our sponsored children had been sick for some time, and was actually quite close to death.  She was losing her sight, and no one expected her to survive.  Suspecting that she was sick with AIDS, our staff member began to pray about how she could help.  She remembered a book called "All Your Health Questions Answered Naturally" and began reading the chapter on HIV/AIDS.  She rushed back to the hospital with the "secret remedy": raw food and plenty of water.  Like the command God gave to Namaan to bathe in the Jordan seven times to be cured of leprosy, the remedy seemed ridiculously simple. Yet, they tried it. At first it was a struggle just to open her mouth and help her eat a little.  They did this throughout the night, and for the next couple days. Soon she started gaining strength and speaking, then sitting up in bed. Within a week she was discharged from the hospital.  Had she been cured of HIV/AIDS? No, but she had been given a new lease on life, and more time with her daughter.  Given her prior condition, it was a remarkable turnaround.

The fact that our staff member had the book was also remarkable.  Amongst thousands of books shipped on that container, sandwiched between tables and desks, socks and coats, and enough school supplies to last a few years, was a book about healthy eating that somehow made it into the hands of this particular staff member, who remembered its existence at just the right time.

So, the truth is, it wasn't really the shipping container that saved that woman's life, but you probably knew that already.  No, it was the God who knew exactly what would be needed, well in advance, and who pre-ordained that an obscure health book would be donated to a church which would in turn donate it to ECM, which would send it on a very expensive shipping container all the way to Uganda, where it would be used to save a life.  I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty cool!

If you'd like to be a part of the cool things that God is doing through ECM, please visit our website.  We are always looking for new partners to join with us!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Perfect in God's Eyes



In the small town of Kyengera, just south of Uganda’s capital city of Kampala, lives a cheerful girl known by those in the community as “Stella, the handicapped girl.”  Like most of the handicapped children in Uganda, Stella spent much of her life homebound and shunned.  Uganda’s physical and social environments are decidedly disability-unfriendly, highlighted by a lack of handicap-accessible amenities, including toilets, as well as unchecked discrimination.  Beliefs that handicaps are a result of curses and evil spirits, or are a punishment for wrongdoing, are prevalent in the culture.  Only limited basic human rights exist for persons with disabilities in Uganda, and many are left homeless on the streets, begging for their next meal.  Such is the world of Stella, “the handicapped girl.” 

Stella was fifteen years old when she saw ECM children gathering each week for Saturday Bible club.  As she watched from a distance, she saw something special going on, and asked if she could be a part of it. The program coordinator readily accepted her request, and now Stella attends as often as she can, loving the opportunities she has each week to learn from the Bible.  With help from ECM, Stella was able to gain admittance to a school where the headmaster was also disabled.  Though a teenager, she was placed in kindergarten, because she lacked any formal education.  Now nineteen, she has advanced to Primary 2 (second grade) and is in a boarding school.  She loves to learn and be with the other children!  The Kyengera project regularly provides Stella with transportation to and from her boarding school, and whenever possible helps with her school fees as well.

ECM has made a significant effort over the past few years to bring hope and practical help to children with disabilities.  This often-overlooked group needs our help more than ever, as these children are not only discriminated against in their society, but also face serious challenges because of the lack of available handicap-accessible amenities.  We are working hard to care for these kids and to help make their lives better.


Recently, Stella has faced some additional challenges in her life, and returning to school was difficult.  Her mother became ill and did not have the funds to both purchase her own medication and also send Stella to school.  She also struggles to use the local transportation system because her wheelchair will not fold up.  Your gift today will help us provide for these and many other needs as we reach out to those with disabilities.  (Please designate your gift for “Children with Disabilities”, or visit our website and click on Donate Now).

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Something Beautiful

Madina Birungi

Walking past garbage heaps was a daily occurrence for Madina Mukabaliisa, an elderly woman living near the town of Kamuli in eastern Uganda.  But on this day, God had something special in mind for this woman of faith. As she walked past, she saw a group of people trying to open a plastic bag.  She wondered why everyone was so interested. Then she heard the cry of a newborn baby, and watched as the bag was opened and the child, for a second time, was delivered.  Madina then surprised everyone by volunteering to care for the child until a new family could be found. When a new family was not found, she continued to care for the child, naming her Madina, after herself, and Birungi, meaning “something beautiful.” 

Several years later, this beautiful child was welcomed into the ECM family, where your support allows her to remain in school and attend Bible club, receiving nutritious meals, learning life skills, and experiencing the love of God.

Beautiful things like this happen throughout ECM’s projects because you have a heart…. 
  • A heart for Madina
  • A heart for African children and families struggling to find hope
  • A heart for rescuing the broken and outcast
  • A heart for bringing the good news of Jesus to a needy world


Thank you for impacting Madina's life in such a profound and beautiful way.  You make all the difference when you have a heart!   If you would like to donate to ECM, Click here to make a difference today! 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Meet Beckham

Meet Beckham.  No, not that Beckham.  The Beckham we met a few days ago may not lead the charmed life of the famed footballer, but he has a joy in his heart that puts the rest of us to shame. Take a look and see if you agree!





Sunday, July 31, 2016

Highlights

We've been on the go, and without good internet, for much of the last week!  Here are the highlights in pictures to get you caught up!


Future shoe makers in our Gayaza Project!

Gifts from the Gayaza Project team - a new dress, a Uganda t-shirt, and two pairs of sandals.

Justice leads the Kamwokya kids in a song.

Hanging out with a few of the many children with albinism in ECM projects.

We brought four laptops to Africa for various projects. Here is Dennis in Gulu receiving his computer.

Speaking to the Tegot Atoo children in Gulu.

The chicken project is up and running in Gulu.
Baboons on the road between Kampala and Gulu. Always fun to watch. One even jumped on our hood!

In Tororo, little Jessica, focus of our 2015 Christmas letter, sits peacefully.

Stacy receives a gift in Tororo with the children looking on.


Final two of ten Afayo classrooms built for St. Paul Primary School. See the old classrooms to the right?!

The wheel hub broke on the Afayo truck on the way home from the village.  Rough roads! 


Friday, July 22, 2016

Some Sad News

You never want to hear the pilot interrupt your flight to say "I have some sad news."  For the first time in our lives of flying we heard those alarming words.  Barely 20 minutes into our flight to Entebbe, Uganda, we had just watched our plane do a complete 180, heading back to Nairobi, so we were expecting some kind of update from the cockpit.  It was almost a relief to hear the announcement that there was a only minor problem with one of the wings that kept the plane from getting as high as needed, and the pilot had been advised to return to the airport.  Honestly, I had quickly imagined far worse scenarios when I heard the words "sad news."  We arrived in Uganda 2 hours late, but safe and sound.

What is it that makes us worry?  What is it that makes us think the worst?  Is it just our human nature, something that is almost impossible to control, or is it a simple choice that we make each day?  Jesus certainly didn't allow it as an option in our lives, (see Matthew 6), yet we still do it all the time.  And truth be told, the world we live in could make a person worry themselves to death.  These days, the upcoming US presidential election is enough to do that.

Listen, no matter what happens to my airplane, no matter who becomes the next president, and no matter what the economy will look like in 12 months, God is in control.  Always has been, always will be.  End of story, and end of worry.  Don't let the world's sad news cause you to forget the Good News!

Here's some more good news: we just completed a successful training workshop for the Ugandan staff.  We are blessed at ECM to have such competent staff on the ground doing ministry!  Keep them in your prayers!

ECM Uganda staff hard at work during today's training workshop.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

By God's Grace

Haven of Hope children helping to lead worship at the Sunday morning service.

Ghanaians are fond of saying "by God's grace, I'm doing well" when they are asked how they are doing.  They seem to understand that all our blessings come from God, who continually shows us mercy and grace!  I'm not quite so good at that.  It is easy for me to forget that my very life is a gift from Him!  I have a friend in Uganda who starts almost every prayer with, "thank you for life and breath."  I take it all for granted.  But whenever I travel in Africa and visit with my African friends, my perspective changes, and I am reminded of my need to thank God for even the simplest of things: for the sunrise, for a safe trip across town, for a hot meal, and for good health.  Being thankful is a choice.  Let's all make a point to thank the Giver of all good things for His love and blessings!

Our trip has gone well so far!  We have visited with many staff members as well as ECM missionaries Jim and Carolyn Driscoll.  The staff workshop that was held on Saturday was a big success, and everyone had a lot of fun (and may have learned a thing or two as well!).  We were blessed to be a part of the Haven of Hope worship service today, and tomorrow we are off to the Eastern Region to visit one of ECM's projects, plus the newly started piggery.  More meetings on Tuesday, and then off to Uganda on Wednesday.  Please pray for us as our journey continues. By God's grace we will carry on!